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### Experts Argue Kids’ Compulsive Social Media Use is a Result of Learning from the Best

When the generation of children whose parents extensively documented their milestones online grows up and begins using social media themselves, there are concerns about the impact. Some Ontario school boards have accused major social media companies of negatively influencing children’s behavior due to the platforms’ design. While experts acknowledge the role of social media companies, they also emphasize the responsibility of parents in setting examples for their children.

Parents not only demonstrate excessive social media usage to their children but also share personal information about their kids online, influencing their perception of social media norms. This behavior can lead children to seek attention through online platforms, potentially affecting their self-image and behavior.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and other school boards in Ontario have filed lawsuits against Meta Platforms, Snap, and ByteDance, alleging harm caused to students by the addictive nature of social media. The intricate design of these platforms is believed to contribute to attention, learning, and mental health crises among students.

Apart from children, parents themselves are not immune to the allure of social media, with a significant percentage admitting to being distracted by their phones during conversations with their teens. The phenomenon of “sharenting,” where parents share their children’s lives online, has become increasingly prevalent, raising concerns about the long-term implications for children’s privacy and future opportunities.

Sharenting can expose children to risks such as identity theft, affect their sense of privacy and self-esteem, and potentially limit their future prospects. As some individuals who grew up in the era of online sharing have come forward with their experiences, there is a growing awareness of the negative consequences of excessive online exposure from a young age.

Experts warn that social media platforms, designed to be addictive, can have detrimental effects on children’s mental health, cognitive development, and overall well-being. The constant stimulation from social media can impact sleep patterns, contribute to symptoms of depression and anxiety, and influence attention and memory functions in children.

Given these concerns, experts advocate for holding social media companies accountable for the impact of their platforms on children. The lawsuits filed by Ontario school boards aim to address the alleged negligence in designing platforms that promote compulsive usage, highlighting the need for greater transparency and responsibility in the digital landscape.